The US sanctioned 10 Myanmar military officials Thursday for their roles in the overthrow of that country's civilian government.
Among those designated are Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing, and his deputy Soe Win. Both were sanctioned in 2019 for human rights abuses related to the Myanmar military's violent crackdown on the country's Muslim minority Rohingya population.
In addition, Myint Swe, a former military official who is now Myanmar's first vice president, and three lieutenant generals, have been added to the US blacklist.
Three companies tied to Myanmar's military -- Myanmar Ruby Enterprise, Myanmar Imperial Jade Co., LTD. and Cancri (Gems and Jewellery) Co., LTD -- have also been sanctioned.
The White House said the penalties "need not be permanent," calling on the Tatmadaw, as Myanmar's military is formally known, to return power to elected leaders, end its imposed state of emergency, and release those it has detained.
"The results of Burma’s November 8, 2021 elections must be respected, and Parliament should be convened at the earliest opportunity," the White House said in a statement, using the US government's preferred name for Myanmar.
"The United States will continue to work with our allies, partners, and international organizations as we condemn the actions of the Burmese military, and call for the immediate restoration of democracy. We view this coup as a direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy," it added.
In addition to the sanctions the US is imposing export controls on "sensitive goods" to the Myanmar's Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Home Affairs, armed forces, and security services.
Roughly $1 billion in Myanmar government funds subject to US jurisdiction has also been frozen.
The actions come after Myanmar’s military took several senior members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party into custody in a new wave of arrests late Wednesday.
Among those arrested in the raids were Tun Tun Hein, deputy speaker of the lower house of Myanmar’s parliament, and chief ministers of five regions, including the restive western Rakhine state, according to an official with the National League for Democracy (NLD), Suu Kyi's party.
The detentions failed to deter protesters as large rallies and demonstrations continued in several cities of Myanmar on Thursday, marking a sixth consecutive day of anti-coup demonstrations.
In Yangon, hundreds gathered near the Central Bank building entrance, calling on the remaining staff to join the civil disobedience movement.
By Michael Hernandez in Washington, D.C.